New Year’s Resolution 5778: Stop and Taste the Honey!

The English word “holiday” does not convey the full idea behind Jewish celebrations and commemorations. And the British term “holiday” as vacation does not help give it any gravitas. The two biblical terms are moed, a declared time, or chag, a cyclical time. They are both related to the idea of declaring a moment in time special or unique, and perhaps revisiting that moment on a rotating basis to appreciate the impact of what is being remembered.  Indeed, the Jewish idea of holiness, from which holiday/holy day may derive, is linked to the notion of making something unique, special, and thereby sacred.

The cyclical holidays, such as Passover, Sukkot and Shavuot, have two themes each- one celebrates parts of the exodus story, and the other the season’s harvest.  Both should make a person pause, remember, and celebrate with thankfulness and appreciation. Shabbat has two themes- the rest ethic after a creation process and the “rest as justice” idea as a part of leaving Egyptian slavery.

So, what could we make of the themes of the declared times of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur? Their somber notes about repentance, change for the better, and introspection are important. But, coming as they do at the “head” of the lunar calendar year, they act as a keynote of sorts to the rest of the holiday cycle. As the seasons change, as the leaves turn colors and fall, as students go back to school and workers begin a new budget year, more than we declare these days to be special, these days declare and call out to us to take note. They plead with us to stop, take time, recognize changes both obvious and subtle, and take a deep breath and carry on. And as life becomes inevitably more complex and challenging, we need to stop and taste the honey; remember our blessings, the sweetness in our lives from family, friends and accomplishments.

Here are some ideas for maximizing your holiday time, and “stopping to smell the roses/taste the honey” curtesy of Nisha Moodley. Try them and they may become New Year’s resolutions!

  1. Hold the door for someone. Yes, the person holding the door can take pleasure in this, too. Be patient so they can take their time.
  2. Watch bugs in the grass; It helps if you lie down.
  3. Put lotion on slowly; Feel your hand against your skin; feel your skin against your hand. This is your very own body.
  4. Thank the cashier; Imagine interacting with hundreds of people each day and having next-to-none of them give you the time of day. Be the one who does.
  5. Check out the moon; she governs the Jewish calendar and the cycle of life.
  6. Feel the fabric on your skin. While you walk, notice how your clothing feels against your body, and notice how every brush ‘wakes up’ your skin.
  7. Skip- Even if people watch. Who cares?!
  8. Buy a magazine that you normally wouldn’t. What’s a subject matter that you’ve never explored? Cross-stitch? Motorcycle racing? Interior design? Check out something you know nothing about.
  9. Buy flowers for someone else. Receiving flowers is heartwarming. Giving flowers is a thrill.
  10. Feel the air on your cheeks. It’s quite amazing that your cheeks are absorbing water and oxygen from the air. Feels good, right?
  11. Write a little love note to your Grandma. In as little as 3 sentences, thank her for all of the love, patience and perseverance it took to create your family.
  12. Do a clutter tashlikh- Throw something out (or give it away). Right now, just go grab something that is taking up unnecessary space and get rid of it.
  13. Sign up for a class. What have you been wanting to learn? Take a minute now to sign up for a class.

Here is a baker’s dozen “conversation starters’ you can use to break the ice at family gatherings while avoiding politics or those awkward moments of silence or TMI.

  1. What is the funniest thing you remember about a past fall holiday season?
  2. What unusual traditions did you have around Rosh Hashana?
  3. Name one ancestor that you think about on Yom Kippur and tell us why.
  4. What is one wish you have for the next generation as they begin to establish their own holiday traditions?
  5. If your great-great grandchildren could listen to this years from now, is there any wisdom you’d want to pass on to them? What would you want them to know?
  6. What are the most important lessons you’ve learned in life?
  7. How do you want to be remembered?
  8. If you could add two commandments to the existing ten, what would they be?
  9. If you could break one of the commandments, which would it be and why?
  10. Share: Favorite Mother Moment; Favorite Father Moment; Favorite Sibling Moment.
  11. If your house was on fire and you could grab only 3 things before leaving, what would they be?
  12. Name one thing that not many people know about you.
  13. List 1 thing you wish you could change about yourself.

And remember that the most important app to download this season is Appreciation

Look here for High Holiday related Events!
 

Holiday events

Upcoming Events
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Thu
Sep
  21
9:30 AM - 11:00 AM
 
B'nai Israel Congregation
6301 Montrose Road, Rockville MD 20852
Recommended for Children Ages 5 and Under with an Adult Renee Brachfeld, our talented leader, combines singing, storytelling, movement and the sounds of the shofar to create an enjoyable holiday experience for families with young children. Following the hour-long service, participants are invited for light refreshments and a short art project. This service ends in time for those who have seats in one of our traditional services to hear the sermon and participate in Musaf. Register online at www...
Listed In:  Families, Interfaith, Special Needs, Maryland, Conservative, Children/Teens/Family, Holiday/Shabbat (High Holidays, Chanukah, Passover)
Event Cost:  more than $50; $40 per family for one service, $100 for all three

 
 
Thu
Sep
  21
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
 
Agudas Achim Congregation
2908 Valley Drive, Alexandria VA 22302
Please join the Agudas Achim Young Families for High Holiday services designed for the youngest members of the Jewish community. We will hold services from 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM on both days of Rosh Hashanah and on Yom Kippur. To register, please click the following link: https://goo.gl/forms/kQP8wM1ICyz6l2Lj1. Dress comfortably as families will be sitting on the floor.
Listed In:  Families, Northern Virginia, Conservative, Children/Teens/Family, Holiday/Shabbat (High Holidays, Chanukah, Passover), PJ Library Co-Sponsored
Event Cost:  

 
 
Thu
Sep
  21
2:00 PM - 3:00 PM
 
Temple B'nai Shalom
7612 Old Ox Road, Fairfax Station VA 22039
Please join us for Rosh Hashanah Family Services on Thursday, September 21st. This service is perfect for families with young children. The service is open to non-members and is free-of-charge but reservations and tickets are required. Please email Lynn at lynn@tbs-online.org.
Listed In:  Families, Northern Virginia, Reform, Holiday/Shabbat (High Holidays, Chanukah, Passover), PJ Library Co-Sponsored
Event Cost:  

 
 
Fri
Sep
  22
9:30 AM - 11:00 AM
 
B'nai Israel Congregation
6301 Montrose Road, Rockville MD 20852
Recommended for Children Ages 5 and Under with an Adult Renee Brachfeld, our talented leader, combines singing, storytelling, movement and the sounds of the shofar to create an enjoyable holiday experience for families with young children. Following the hour-long service, participants are invited for light refreshments and a short art project. This service ends in time for those who have seats in one of our traditional services to hear the sermon and participate in Musaf. Register online at www...
Listed In:  Families, Interfaith, Special Needs, Maryland, Conservative, Children/Teens/Family, Holiday/Shabbat (High Holidays, Chanukah, Passover)
Event Cost:  more than $50; $40 per family for one service, $100 for all three

 
 
Fri
Sep
  22
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
 
Agudas Achim Congregation
2908 Valley Drive, Alexandria VA 22302
Please join the Agudas Achim Young Families for High Holiday services designed for the youngest members of the Jewish community. We will hold services from 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM on both days of Rosh Hashanah and on Yom Kippur. To register, please click the following link: https://goo.gl/forms/kQP8wM1ICyz6l2Lj1. Dress comfortably as families will be sitting on the floor.
Listed In:  Families, Northern Virginia, Conservative, Children/Teens/Family, Holiday/Shabbat (High Holidays, Chanukah, Passover), PJ Library Co-Sponsored
Event Cost:  

 
 
Fri
Sep
  22
10:00 AM - 11:30 AM
 
Congregation Har Tzeon-Agudath Achim (Congregation Har Tzeon Agudath Achim)
1840 University Blvd West, Silver Spring MD 20902
Join youth and families, as well as those with disabilities and their families to come together for a wonderful sensorial Jewish experience. Listen to the shofar, eat the apples dipped in honey, smell the sweet new year and touch the Torah with your gentle fingertips. For more information on this event, visit htaa.org or email Adrienne@htaa.org
Listed In:  Families, Special Needs, Maryland, Conservative, Holiday/Shabbat (High Holidays, Chanukah, Passover), PJ Library Co-Sponsored
Event Cost:  $10 - $24; $18/person

 
 
Sat
Sep
  23
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
 
Agudas Achim Congregation
2908 Valley Drive, Alexandria VA 22302
Join Agudas Achim Young Families for a volunteer led service for kids ages 0-5, accompanied by an adult. Congregational kiddush to follow.
Listed In:  Families, Northern Virginia, Conservative, Children/Teens/Family, Holiday/Shabbat (High Holidays, Chanukah, Passover), Parenting, PJ Library Co-Sponsored
Event Cost:  

 
 
Sun
Sep
  24
10:00 AM - 11:00 AM
 
Garden of Remembrance Memorial Park
14321 Comus Rd., Clarksburg MD 20871
The Garden of Remembrance High Holy Days Memorial Services take place at 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.at our beautiful Memorial Park on Comus Road in Clarksburg, Maryland. This is our 17th Annual Service and it is conducted by area clergy.
Listed In:  20’s-30’s-40’s, Families, Seniors, Maryland, Holiday/Shabbat (High Holidays, Chanukah, Passover)
Event Cost:  

 
 
Sun
Sep
  24
11:00 AM - 2:00 PM
 
Edlavitch DC Jewish Community Center (Family Engagement at the EDCJCC)
1340 Rhode Island Ave NE, Washington DC 20018
Join other Edlavitch DCJCC families to get our hands dirty and learn about food access with Everybody Grows, an organization that inspires people to grow their own food in home gardens. We will compost, weed, plant, and harvest. Afterwards, we will learn about food waste and food accessibility with Darya Watnick, Director of Jewish Engagement, and Jewish Outdoor, Food, and Environmental Education Fellow with Hazon. Since this program falls on the Sunday between Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur we wi...
Listed In:  Families, GLBT, Interfaith, DC, Children/Teens/Family, Holiday/Shabbat (High Holidays, Chanukah, Passover), Social Events, Volunteer
Event Cost:  $10 - $24; $20 per family

 
 
Tue
Sep
  26
6:30 PM - 9:00 PM
 
Magen David Sephardic Congregation
11215 Woodglen Drive, Rockville MD 20852
Experience Sephardic Heritage & Get Inspired! Join us for a unique concert featuring the Bar Yohai Ensemble and Rabbi Haim Ovadia in a medley of High Holiday music from across the Sephardic World! 6:30 Reception - Hors D’oeuvres & Bar 7:15 Concert Tickets available from $20.00 
Listed In:  20’s-30’s-40’s, Boomers, Seniors, Maryland, Arts & Culture, Holiday/Shabbat (High Holidays, Chanukah, Passover), Social Events
Event Cost:  $25 - $50; $20-$30

 
 
Sat
Sep
  30
9:00 AM - 9:30 AM
 
Washington Hebrew Congregation
3935 Macomb Street NW, Washington DC 20016
Through songs, brief prayers, and stories, our clergy and song leaders create a special, warm community worship experience, one-half hour in length, for our youngest congregants and their families. For more information about how to attend High Holy Day services at Washington Hebrew Congregation, contact us at seatingoffice@whctemple.org or 202-362-7100.
Listed In:  Families, Special Needs, DC, Reform, Holiday/Shabbat (High Holidays, Chanukah, Passover)
Event Cost:  

 
 
Sat
Sep
  30
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
 
Agudas Achim Congregation
2908 Valley Drive, Alexandria VA 22302
Please join the Agudas Achim Young Families for High Holiday services designed for the youngest members of the Jewish community. We will hold services from 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM on both days of Rosh Hashanah and on Yom Kippur. To register, please click the following link: https://goo.gl/forms/kQP8wM1ICyz6l2Lj1. Dress comfortably as families will be sitting on the floor.
Listed In:  Families, Northern Virginia, Conservative, Children/Teens/Family, Holiday/Shabbat (High Holidays, Chanukah, Passover), PJ Library Co-Sponsored
Event Cost:  

 
 
Sat
Sep
  30
10:00 AM - 11:30 AM
 
B'nai Israel Congregation
6301 Montrose Road, Rockville MD 20852
Recommended for Children Ages 5 and Under with an Adult Renee Brachfeld, our talented leader, combines singing, storytelling, movement and the sounds of the shofar to create an enjoyable holiday experience for families with young children. Following the hour-long service, participants are invited for light refreshments and a short art project. This service ends in time for those who have seats in one of our traditional services to hear the sermon and participate in Musaf. Register online at www...
Listed In:  Families, Interfaith, Special Needs, Maryland, Conservative, Children/Teens/Family, Holiday/Shabbat (High Holidays, Chanukah, Passover)
Event Cost:  more than $50; $40 per family for one service, $100 for all three

 
 
Sat
Sep
  30
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
 
Agudas Achim Congregation
2908 Valley Drive, Alexandria VA 22302
Join Agudas Achim Young Families for a volunteer led service for kids ages 0-5, accompanied by an adult. Congregational kiddush to follow.
Listed In:  Families, Northern Virginia, Conservative, Children/Teens/Family, Holiday/Shabbat (High Holidays, Chanukah, Passover), Parenting, PJ Library Co-Sponsored
Event Cost:  

 
 
Sat
Sep
  30
11:00 AM - 11:30 AM
 
Washington Hebrew Congregation
3935 Macomb Street NW, Washington DC 20016
Through songs, brief prayers, and stories, our clergy and song leaders create a special, warm community worship experience, one-half hour in length, for our youngest congregants and their families. For more information about how to attend High Holy Day services at Washington Hebrew Congregation, contact us at seatingoffice@whctemple.org or 202-362-7100.
Listed In:  Families, Special Needs, DC, Reform, Holiday/Shabbat (High Holidays, Chanukah, Passover)
Event Cost:  

 


The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington proudly presents to you High Holidays: New Ideas for a New Year. No doubt there will be something in this book that will enhance your new year and bring your family joy. Whatever you choose to do, Make it Yours in 5777.